Home Family Travel An Open Letter To The CEO Of Cedar Fair: Don’t Ruin Our Favorite Water Park!

An Open Letter To The CEO Of Cedar Fair: Don’t Ruin Our Favorite Water Park!

by joeheg

On Thursday night I received an email from Schlitterbahn, the water park in New Braunfels that we travel over 1000 miles to visit every year.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 7.52.16 PM

We have annual passes so I figured it was a thank you for being a loyal guest. But then I started to read.

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 7.50.19 PM


I immediately Googled, found an article with the details and texted it to Sharon. Her response was the same as the one in my head. It’s four letters long and something that I won’t write on the blog because we’re (usually) pretty family-friendly around here.

We’re getting ready to make our yearly trip Schlitterbahn, and this news has been running through my head. I decided the best way to express my feelings was to write the CEO of Cedar Fair.

June 17, 2019

Richard Zimmerman, President and CEO of Cedar Fair
Sandusky, Ohio

Dear Mr. Zimmerman:

Congratulations on Cedar Fair’s acquisition of the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels, Texas and the water park in Galveston. After reading the news, I have only one thing to ask of you and the Cedar Fair company.

Please do not ruin my favorite water park!

I’m sure that Cedar Fair did not spend $261 million dollars on these properties to ruin them and destroy their value. Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels has won the Golden Ticket award for Best Water Park from Amusement Today for the last 21 years. All you really need to do to keep the streak going is to not mess things up.

I just wanted to share my story as a way for you to understand what makes these parks, and particularly the park in New Braunfels, so special.

We are Schlitterbahn annual pass holders even though we live over 1000 miles away in Orlando, Florida. We have some of the best water parks in the world right in our backyard, each just a 15 or 20-minute drive from our house. There must be something about Schlitterbahn New Braunfels that causes us to make the trek to the Texas Hill Country once or, more recently, twice every summer.


That’s me going down the Dragon Blaster (now Dragon’s Revenge) in 2007, the second year we visited the park. Our first trip was in 2006.

Every time we get asked why we fly halfway across the country to visit a water park, we give the same answer. Because Schlitterbahn is unlike any other water park in the world. The way the parks wind along the river, looking like they’ve always been there. Like they belong there. You can’t explain it to people.

The way the tube chutes carry you across the park through the mature oak trees. How you get stuck in a current and have to develop team-building skills with other park guests so everyone can continue down the ride. How you go under, through and around the resort, eventually ending up down at, or even dumped into, the river.

Then there’s the other park, which has what may be the best water slide ever, the Master Blaster.


Walking into the park in the morning, with families carrying their coolers and shopping bags full of snacks, you know this is a place where people gather together. Entire summers are spent there. It’s where kids learn how to swim. It’s where you go to relax during a sweltering hot summer afternoon. Schlitterbahn is simply put, Texas.

It’s also the place where Sharon learned how to body board on Boogie Bahn. This is her during her lesson:


When she went back that day, she was able to get onto her knees and the entire crowd started cheering. Even more than for the show off teenagers who have been riding it since they were born.

These examples are just from me and my wife. We have many memories we’ve made over the years at Schlitterbahn and I’m sure there are stories from other families and many more memories that cover several generations.

I read an article saying that Cedar Fair is planning on investing an additional 15 million dollars into the New Braunfels and Galveston properties over the next 2-3 years to improve the food and beverage offerings and accommodations. I can’t disagree with your initial assessment with those areas needing immediate improvement. We don’t stay on the property because the rooms look like they haven’t been renovated since they were built. As far as the food, some variety would be welcome, but don’t change too much because we’ve just discovered the wonder that is Frito Pie.


We hope that we’ll want to keep our passes through 2020 and beyond

In all, what I’m asking is for you and the team who will be running the Schlitterbahn parks to take the time to understand why people love these parks and how they’ve managed to stay open for 40 years.

Take a few days. Go to the H-E-B or Walmart and fill up the cooler with sandwich meat, some drinks and a Frito-Lay variety pack. Go for a ride on a tube and get pulled out of a swirling current by some high school or college kid working their summer job. Spend time with the people who come to your park and see what they want.


Sharon in her element – floating in the Comal River after being on a water slide that lasted over 30 minutes

Sure, it would be nice if the chipped plaster was fixed in some of the tunnels, or if the lazy river didn’t have as many leaves and dead bugs, or even if the rooms were more modern and you could buy something to eat something besides a burger, hot dog or barbecue, but that’s not what matters to people. If it was, they would have stopped going a long time ago. You’ve just purchased the memories of an entire generation of Texans, not just a bunch of swimming pools, water slides and tube chutes.

If you remember that, I think you’ll be OK.


Joe H.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love if you decided to hang around and clicked the button on the top (if you’re on your computer) or the bottom (if you’re on your phone/tablet) of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post (it’s usually just once or twice a day). Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group, where we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary





Snorklez June 17, 2019 - 12:31 pm

I worked in the Valleyfair Waterpark for 5 years; with my last 3 years in seasonal management.

Good times. Mostly… but I hear the management of CF these days is MUCH better

Travelbuds710 July 26, 2019 - 3:08 pm

Relax, Cedar Fair is legit and knows how to improve parks… If it was six flags I’d be worried.

Frank Doyle June 17, 2019 - 2:38 pm

Cedar Fair is the cream of the crop…you have nothing to worry about.

Shawn June 18, 2019 - 11:00 am

Have you ever been to a Cedar Fair park? You have nothing to worry about. Cedar Fair will only make the park 10x better.

Elizabeth October 2, 2019 - 8:43 pm

There is a lot that come out about the Henry family’s management style after that child was decapitated at Schlitterbahn Kansas City, and most of it was…not good. I’d say that the water park being acquired by Cedar Fair is a very good thing for the safety of your family!


Leave a Comment